A confession, an admission, and a proclamation

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It’s Spring Break at UIC, and I’m taking stock of a few things. Having a few precious hours to reflect on my life, this is what I’ve come up with:

Confession: I’ve broken every rule of blogging lately, and I’ve let this little hub of amusements wither away. As far as the Internet is concerned, this site is totally dead. Today I’d like to confess that it’s only going to get worse.

Admission: I’ve been accepted to the PhD program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (what?!?). So that means my really busy schedule just got a whole lot busier.

Proclamation: I’m resolving today to learn how to say no – to recognize my limits (because I DO actually have them).

Something’s got to give, and unfortunately, for now, that’s One Crafty Lady. Effective immediately, we’re on a hiatus. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with my life… I’ll still be micro-blogging on Tumblr, and you should catch me there. Maybe someday this blog and I will be together again, but let’s be honest: I don’t have time to make a recipe more complicated than instant rice, never mind blog about it.

So I’m asking you to not forget about me, but to make a shift to Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram (or heck, even Snap Chat). I want and need to stay connected to real people (or at least the virtual ones that I think are reading my blog).

OH, and if you want to follow the PhD adventure beginning this Fall, you can catch me at Art Intercepts too.

Valentine’s Day Surf and Turf on the Cheap

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Many a Valentines Schmalentines have been spent drinking alone in a bubble bath. I’m not a fan of Hallmark holidays in general, and especially ones that also, typically, break most people’s New Years resolutions.

But I have to say, this Valentine’s Day rocked. We opted to stay in and cook, and did a damn fine job of it, too. I pulled some pork chops out of the freezer, and we found a really good bargain on seafood at the grocery store this week. Add some crusty bread and roasted asparagus, and voila! Delish. And inexpensive.

This feast of pork, lobster tails and opilio crab is likely to cost at least $25 an entree at a restaurant, plus wine, plus valet, plus tip, plus stupid traffic (and the traffic WAS extremely stupid that day). We figured we came in at about two for the price of one, BOGO, if you will, and didn’t have to put shoes on. Win win.

Prepping the dinner table

Prepping the dinner table

Crab + bread = winning

Crab + bread = winning

Boiled Crab Legs

(courtesy of Betty Crocker, and in case you missed this recipe the first time…)

In a big, covered soup pot, boil water seasoned with Old Bay, lemon wedges, parsley, and celery.

When water is boiling, drop crab in until submerged and cover.

If not able to fully submerge, turn the crab occasionally to ensure equal cooking time.

For live crab, cook until pink, about 20 minutes. The legs from the grocery store take about half that time.

Remove from pot, cool until able to handle, and serve with melted butter doused with lemon juice.

Prepping for Strawberry Shortcake (but this is the topic of another post...)

Prepping for Strawberry Shortcake (but this is the topic of another post…)

Polar Vortex PressReader Giveaway!

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It wasn’t that long ago that electronic journalism was a crazy, farfetched idea. But in 2014, weekday commutes and Sunday coffees are now accompanied by iPads more often than newspapers.

As print journalism sadly fades away, electronic publications hosted by major newspapers are becoming increasingly high quality sources of news.

And you don’t get black smudges on your fingers.

The cool thing about an electronic press database like PressReader is that you can have virtually any newspaper or magazine you want at your fingertips, without having to purchase separate online subscriptions.

photos courtesy of PressReader

photos courtesy of PressReader

I’ve tried out PressReader before, and with the absence of an iPad in my life decided that an annual membership wasn’t for me.

So, I’m giving it to you instead!

I’m so pumped to have the opportunity to offer a FREE annual membership to PressReader for one lucky person who reads my blog (it could even be you, Mom…). Check out PressReader, see if it’s something that might be good in your life, and then see below for how to get your hands on a free year of electronic news:

So, it’s cold in Chicago right now. It’s been cold for awhile. It was so fracking cold that we cancelled life for two days. Then it stayed cold and we couldn’t justify canceling life again so we just put on lots of long underwear and went about our days.

The endless series of Polar Vortices seems like as good a reason as any to give something away to my readers. So here’s what you need to do to win:

Write a short (short) story about what you would do with a snow day (or polar vortex day, or in the South 1/4″ of snow day, etc). Do you like to stay in and drink hot chocolate and watch Law and Order all day? Bake scones in a snuggie? Build snow people? Whatever it is, make sure it somehow involves a few moments of catching up on the news with your free year of PressReader.

Submit your story by making a comment below this post, and be sure to do it by February 28!

Also, include your email so I know where to contact you if (when) you win!

One lucky reader will be chosen at random from a hat on March 1, and will receive a whole year of free news and magazines from all over the world. Neat, right?!?

p.s. If you didn’t already click on this link above, you’ll want to do that now (trust me).

Check out those legs!

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It’s not often that workaholics get a weeknight off for a dinner party, but when we do, we take full advantage. The polar vortex doesn’t hurt the urge for R & R either.

Philip shows off his legs

Philip shows off his legs

Friend Philip had a hankering for crab legs, and the GF and I were the lucky beneficiaries of his craving. Here’s the thing: crab legs look really impressive, and they are surprisingly simple to make as long as you have a big pot.

Salted water, boiling, add crab, 3-5 min, voila!

Philip added some fancy stuff to the water, and you can get creative with things like herbs, lemon, Old Bay, etc., but the base recipe is all the same. For king crab (go big or go home), you may need to finagle, tuck, and adjust your legs to make sure all parts are cooked, or, get a bigger pot.

For sides, Philip went with twice baked potatoes (yum), almond crusted asparagus (YUM), and we *may* have shared a bottle of wine on a school night. It’s fine, right?

Yeah, I bet you wish you were Philip’s friend too.

Paperless

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There was a time when I balanced my checkbook, when I demanded paper statements, when I held 3 or 4 magazine subscriptions.

I love the feel of paper and the idea of paper. I love handwriting and stationary and print. I love reading a newspaper and getting ink on my hands.

But I think I’m over it.

I’m tiring of the stacks of mail and unread magazines on the dining room table. I’m seeking a less complicated space and a simple home that is free of the mess that paper compels me to make. About a year ago I went paperless on almost all of my bills, and many of them are enrolled in automatic deductions (something I vowed I would never do). Then, tonight, I thought I’d try and sort through the stack of magazines.

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It’s not so bad – I mean it’s only about a year’s worth. Every once in awhile I go through a purging. Carefully sifting through Food & Wine, I rip out pages of recipes I’d like to try, and they go into a slightly smaller pile tucked between cookbooks I seldom use. I put up a good front of domesticity and culinary prowess, but I’m also a workaholic who admittedly fed herself a dinner of Ritz crackers with peanut butter and beer tonight.

How’s that for full disclosure?

p.s. Want the old copies of Food & Wine? First in Chicago to say “dibs” wins.

Resolutions, Schmesolotions

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Excuse me while I toot my horn, but, toot.

The role of a resolution is to fix all the things you neglected since you gave up your last resolutions in March. My goal last year was to get my shit together, and I think I pretty well accomplished it. My bills are up to date, my fitness regime is fairly on point, we keep up with the dishes, and I do my best to find creative, intellectual, and temporal space to keep up with my life

The thing is, I feel pretty darn good about 2013, and instead of a resolution, I just want more of the same.

It’s not that I don’t value making goals – I definitely have some – and resolutions can be powerful for many people. But maybe the overarching plan should be getting to the point that you don’t have to make resolutions to feel good about your life, because it’s good as it is.

Here’s a little summary of what 2013 looked like, and I eagerly charge ahead into 2014 with the goal of doing the same thing, but better.

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